Thursday, February 15, 2007

Failures

If you think you could do no worse, read this.
If you need inspiration, don't read this.

I have been knitting for a looooooooong time, longer than I care to think of. I have been sewing for a good many years, it started with quilting, then continued as making clothes. First I tried to make quilted clothing but they all came out looking like tea cosies on me so I turned to store-bought fabrics. I have been felting and some have turned out the way I have pictured. Embroidery is not that new to me, spinning quite new, but I sort of know how my yarn will turn out and am slowly gathering information what I’m aiming for. But when it comes to weaving, it is taking on a path that is all very new to me. What a humbling experience to unwrap the cloth beam and see that the cloth is not at all what I expected…

So here. (You are not getting a better picture of it, because I don’t want to look at it. I will distract myself with a picture of snow.)Please don’t say anything about it. I’m having a hard time coming here to write about the failure. Yes, that is the only word that will describe the outcome. I have told me that I’m learning yet. But do I want all this learning and my stash turning into these ugly rolls of fabric?

This might very well be the end of my crafting life.

I’m afraid of taking on anything today. Maybe my ability to do anything good is gone? When I look at my stuff on this table, I see a pair of socks that are on the needles. They are knit from toe up and I hate to knit socks that way, so I stopped and lost my desire to knit socks. Then I tried to make a small pincushion, which turned ashtray but is lying on the table as a reminder, so no desire to do any embroidery. I have two bobbins full of singles needing to be plied but as soon as I started to make two ply, I regretted it, and now think that it should be three ply, so no desire to spin. To sew, I would need to clean the desk to have room for the machine. And to top this off, this humbling roll of ugly fabric folded on the back beam of the loom and the old end of the warp hanging from the loom very sad looking.

I think I will go out of this room, will close this door, lock the door, throw out the key and forget all that is in this room for good.

Just how do you wipe out 96 % of your life? Do you have any suggestions?

96 comments:

  1. close your eyes, take a few (ok many!) deep breaths. remember, life is but a path, not a destination. on your crafty path you have hit a bumpy patch. that is all. sure, it hurts a little to fall on your back side, but in the long run- its yet another learning opportunity.
    you are a master crafts woman!
    time to take a few more deep breaths!
    big hug from NYC.

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  2. I could not have said it better than "hpny knits". Possibly I could say it just as good as her but then again it had to be in swedish and you wouldn't understand it anyway.
    Even if it's hard, please don't take to long before you enter your crafts room again. It would be such a pitty if we were not allowed to see all your beautiful works no more.
    Big hug from south of Sweden!

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  3. many times fabric coming off the loom looks lousy until it is finished. Then wool fulls up and fills in the spaces. Cotton can get a nice shine and linen takes on a good hand.

    Even the standard rag placements look better off.

    So, you just aren't done! don't quit!

    (and take those singles and navajo ply them if you really want three ply0!

    -Holly

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  4. Ella14:43

    Several times I have seriously considered getting rid of all my supplies and emptying my studio space (we could really use an extra room in the house) So I shut the door and read for a week and get over my funk and all becomes right again.
    Remember the learning curve is always hardest in the beginning, it will get easier, and I'm sure your weaving will be as stunning as everything else you do!

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  5. It will be better. Failures always smart really badly, especially if they come as a surprise. But I am sure that you will pick up your crafts again, and soon (for the benefit of us all).

    Just think about something else for awhile, bake or do some laundry or cleaning. And I'm sure that in no time at all you'll start to miss your crafts again.

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  6. I am de-lurking from a year of faithfully reading your beautiful blog. When teaching me to alpine ski at what seemed at the time an impossibly old year (19) to be learning how to move and shift my weight, a good and wise friend told me not to be afraid to fall, that falling is good. Tired, cold, bruised, and more than ready to give up, I said it was easy for him who skied since 3 to say to me as he gracefully shushed down the slope backwards (!) in front of me. He said that in all truth you learn more from falling on the slope than skiing too cautiusly down, or not skiing at all. 11 years later I still hear that voice in my head with some irony every time I fall. Whether the fall is on the slope or somewhere else. And hopefully not putting too fine a point on it, falling one place leads to good understandings on something else - last year I started to learn to surf. And trust me I am no athlete. To me, finally I'm seeing that the inertia of not learning/growing is even more ugly than the deepest bruise from a bad fall.
    I hope you have a little rest, recuperation, a soak for soreness and warmth.

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  7. You need some chocolate, and to take a lesson from child development.

    Often a child will have a time of poor behaviour and failing. Nothing works out. They cry, have temper tantrums, don't sleep well, don't eat well, fail at things they learned a long time ago. Things they should be good at.

    This time of "disorganization" is often followed by a period of intense learning. For example a baby might spend two weeks fussy and not wanting to crawl, only to learn to walk the next day.

    Big leaps of learning are often proceeded by your brain reorganizing stuff in there to make room for the new connections.

    Therefore, this means you are on the edge of really learning something new.

    That or it's just one of those weeks. Go with the chocolate either way. You're a very talented artist. It will be ok.

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  8. It's not fair to expect anyone to do beautiful work in an unfamiliar medium or craft....... There is always a learning curve.

    If you hate toe-up socks, don't make them. :-)

    When I am feeling like maybe I'll never do anything good again, I lower my standards. As long as I am making SOMETHING, the good things have always followed.

    I predict it will be so for you, too.

    Sending you warm thoughts.

    -- Vicki in Michigan

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  9. My dear Lene --

    Close the door and walk away for a bit. Let the air clear. Walk in the quiet, crisp cold. Crank up the snowmobile and let the wind rush by. Do as Pikku-kettu suggested and bake, or "spring" clean. Just indulge in something else for a while.

    You are not a failure. Far, far from it. You just need recharged batteries, and a clean slate.

    When I get burned out, unable to be creative in my job, I simply have to rise from my chair and walk away from the computer. And slowly, ideas come at me from the unlikeliest of places. So to will it be with you.

    Take a well-deserved break. Make some tea, stroke the sleek fur of Mr. Kille, and relax. You don't need to erase 96% of your life. You just need to live in the other 4% right now.

    --Sending love and peaceful thoughts northward.

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  10. When I was in graduate school and I got papers back from instructors, I had to put them away for at least a month before I could stand to look at the comments. Sometimes feedback -- in this case the feedback of seeing exactly what you have -- is very hard. But time will make it easier. It always does.

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  11. I remember when I used to sew, I would find some fabric and a pattern and be so excited and I'd slave over it for a week or so, and then I would try it on and it looked absolutely terrible; the gap between what I had envisioned and what emerged was so vast. I would stuff it in a drawer and feel just like you. But after a rest I would see some more fabric and start up again, and this time it would be all right, so don't give up.

    Just take a break. And rip out that sock.

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  12. i'm so sorry to hear you had a tough time with your weaving. I have been reading your blog with astonishment and gratefulness for about a year, astonished at how honest, forthcoming, and what a truly wonderful human you are. Grateful that you take the time and energy to share yourself with us. Many is the time I wished I lived close to you so that I could meet you.

    I am not quite so picky about my knitting and spinning as you are about yours - probably because mine is not that great. Your knitting always stuns me. I admit I spin and knit for the enjoyment of natural fibers and natural colors and I like a rougher, less perfect outcome, so I don't usually have trouble with my spinning & knitting imperfections because I like the look and feel of "amateur" yarn.

    However, I am also a painter, drawer, and potter. And in these areas I did not decide to spend my time early enough in my life to have enough time to really learn those arts. So here I am at 58 having an aesthetic in which I know what I want, but not being able to accomplish it myself. So what I am trying to say is that I have many many failures. And I totally sympathize with you - there is just no way to talk yourself into feeling okay about a failure that you feel so strongly about. All the advice about putting your focus somewhere else, making it a learning experience, telling yourself that learning just takes time - a LONG time - is good advice but not really advice that can be followed at the moment of feeling a loss after working so hard to accomplish something and not being able to do it.

    I just want you to know that there are lots of us out here who also have disheartening, angry times trying to create something. I have left my watercolor painting in disgust countless times in the last few months. When I started potting again after many years, I cried at how horrible I was after the first class because this is something I used to be quite good at. And I can't tell you to rest and try again, because that's up to you.

    But I do have confidence that you will try again because it does seem to me that it really seems to be in your nature to always get interested again. And when we creators are interested, it is very very hard to stop. Part of what keeps me going is the fact that the process of creating is what makes me feel alive, not the eventual product.

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  13. {{{hugs}}} Lene, you are so incredibly talented. Do take a little break, snuggle with your kitty and Tine and have some hot chocolate or some other special treat. You tried something new and you expected perfection right off! What I saw of your weaving was beautiful and reminded me of my great-grandmother's work. Remember your bird motif? Even the bird needs to rest every so often -- it can't sing the entire time! lots of love to you!

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  14. Rip the socks, start them at the top.
    Unply the yarn (can you do that?) and spin some more for three ply or chain the rest.
    Send that roll of woven fabric to me, because I LOVE the colors!

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  15. My suggestion is to stop, make a nice cup of coffee, and read a book for a few days. It always works for me.

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  16. Get back on that horse girl! Maybe not immediately, but soon! The longer you wait the harder it is. And anyway, don't deny us the sumblime art that is your crafting, even if it only is 99.99% of the time.

    :)

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  17. It's hard to learn something new as an adult. I started playing the harp about five years ago, after probably 45 years of playing the piano. It was a real eye-opener. Your weaving will look better after it's been fulled, and if you're planning on cutting the fabric the selvedges will never matter. If not, just work in the edges with a needle. Turn the toe-up socks into a pair of little matching coin purses.

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  18. It sounds like you need to take a break for a few days. Rest. Watch a movie. Buy some gorgeous yarn and don't allow yourself to knit with it right away. Just look at it. Fondle it. Let it tempt you. It will call your name until you can't stand it any longer. Try to resist its call. And then, jump back in with both needles and enjoy.

    And when all else fails, there is always schnapps!

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  19. Kim in Michigan17:12

    Dear Lene,
    I read your wonderful blog regularly and want to thank you for sharing your gifts with us all.
    Kemtee is right: "You don't need to erase 96% of your life. You just need to live in the other 4% right now." And remember, you must have failure on the way to success. I know you'll overcome this and move on. Turn your face to the sunshine and breathe.
    Love and hugs from Michigan!

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  20. granny purple17:21

    Many years ago, when I was still a relatively new weaver, I used some ugly old samples and failures as packaging for something fragile we sent out west to my mother-in-law, a very talented painter. I was horrified on our next visit to see these dreadful pieces hung proudly on display--but she obviously saw more in them than I could. Distance, both geographic and time, can lend enchantment. And no one else sees our work exactly as we do. It's always hard at first, coming back to something you haven't done for a while. Think of it as training...

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  21. It isn't you, Lene dear. You have the kind of talent I can only dream of! You just have a bad case of the winter doldrums. I feel much the same way right now, in fact: none of my projects are "right", I'm very annoyed with all of them. I have some ideas about projects that would be "right", but no energy or drive to make them happen. All I've accomplished in the past few weeks is a few inches of sock (which got ripped out and re-knit two or three times.) It's depressing and frustrating... but it will pass, both for me and for you.

    I suggest that you pick up a wonderful book and read for a while. Read a novel, a really thick and juicy one that has nothing to do with knitting. When that's done, then spend some time with your favorite craft books until you feel your inspiration returning. (Poetry in Stitches is one that always helps me!)

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  22. robyn17:21

    you are a real inspiration to me, so I doubt your mojo is gone...

    fwiw, the low points are the places where things happen and we move forward, hard as it is to believe at the time.

    keep the faith!

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  23. Gigi18:23

    As and older adult, I decided to study an orchestral instrument. Over the past seven years I have gotten into major funks, experience total frustration, cried, had major disappointments, and even even considered selling my instrument! Well, I didn't sell it, and I am very glad! I did "reel back" for a time, focusing on other areas and returning to practicing with a renewed spirit.

    You are far from a failure. The only difference between a successful person and a failure is that a failure tries and fails and never tries again. The successful person fails, and tries until they are successful. Of course a good rest is in order before trying again!

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  24. When it comes to art...remember this...Never quit at a low point, only quit on a high....you'll get through it.

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  25. So many wonderful comments, what is left to add -- other than that I'd also hate not to see you "Dance With Wool" again... Skiing and skating, hmm? My skating teacher told me that if I had a day that I didn't fall on my butt, on the ice, that was a day in which I hadn't learned everything I could have. Get back up, add some padding, and keep going (yes, after the chocolate, that is...)! =>hug<=

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  26. Elizabeth D19:03

    Lene, take the day off!!! Make a new cup of coffee and read a book, or drive into town (if the road permits) and browse the magazine rack. Tomorrow you'll have a new wonderful idea. Been there!

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  27. Nancy19:03

    It sounds like the February Funk to me. Nothing is right, nothing is pleasing, just leave me alone! I agree with those who said chocolate and books. And maybe a nap or two. Then some exercise to expell the last of the doldrums....that's the part I'm stuck on right now.

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  28. Please, please do not stop crafting and writing about it. Put the offending projects out of sight, have a big mug of hot chocolate and give it all a rest!
    Your mojo will return and chalk this all up to a learning experience!
    Again, please, please do not stop crafting!
    Look at my Tilia on my October 12/2006 posting - I was in tears there, but now it is a memory - not a great one, but still just a memory!
    Experience is what we get when we don't get what we want!

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  29. You are definitely not a failure. It may not be working out right now, but to me that means that you need to take a break and do something else. Read a book, meet up with a friend, take a walk (if not too cold), ride the snowmobile. Find other ways to occupy your time for a couple of days and then when you come back to your crafting, things will work themselves out. That's always worked for me.

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  30. Oh Lene, I'm sorry it feels so bad. But you can't wipe out 96% of your life, and you shouldn't try. Accidents, mistakes, and un-inspiration are as much a natural part of the creative process as beauty and success.
    I didn't knit for two months last spring because of a pair of socks I had learned to dislike, and some silly rule I'd made about not starting anything new until I finished them (They are now my favorite socks, but still I'd never knit them again.) Once I let myself abandon that ideal, I finished several other projects, and then the dreaded socks.
    Stuff the weaving somewhere you'll not have to look at it again - perhaps even the garbage if you hate it that much! Don't worry about "losing" the yarn, as my husband says, "In a crazy urge to turn a profit, I'm sure they made more..."
    Get a ball of sock yarn you love, start an old favorite pattern(Embossed Leaves?) Sew yourself a simple new knit bag, make a small gift for someone who won't expect it... these are just suggestions. Or, lock the door, put the key safely in your pocket, and go enjoy the day elsewhere - you will return when you are ready.

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  31. Lots of good advice and encouragement has already been given. Summing it up, I would say, "Never say never." What disgusts you today may (and probably will) look different next week or next month. In the meantime do some other things you like -- walking with your beautiful dog, reading, writing, whatever.

    Put the weaving out of sight. Someday in a week or a month you will happen across it, and your immediate impression of it may be positive. If so, great. If not, either toss it or put it away again for another piece of time.

    But whatever you do, don't wipe out 96% of your life. 95.04% of that part of your life (that's 99% of 96%; I'm an accountant, I can't help it) is wonderful and beautiful and creative and delightful and pleases your readers to no end. When you are feeling a little more optimistic after taking whatever therapeutic activity you choose, it will please you, too.

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  32. LisaK20:10

    Sending a big hug your way! I'm working on my first weaving project right now. I have a hard time working on it because I fear it will be a "learning experience".

    I knit dishcloths when I feel like you do. It's pretty hard to screw them up.

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  33. Emily20:14

    As all the other above have said, don't go giving up on yourself yet. You work (for the most part) is beautiful, and it obviously fulfills you deeply or else you wounldn't be feeling so dispondant right now.

    It's always really hard on the ego to go from accomplished/experinced crafter to beginner, but that doesn't mena you should a) stop learning hte new craft or b) give up all crafts. Take a break, recharge your creative batteries, and things will work out. And remember, the worst thing that happens with knitting gone awry is that you rip it out and have a great skein of yarn! (Does this perhaps work with weaving too?)

    Hugs from Toronto!

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  34. The snow is very pretty, and I also recommend that you rip out everything you don't like knitting. Life is too short.

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  35. Oh, that is very disappointing! One thing I've done with my handknits sometimes is felt them down and then use the felt to cut and sew or needlefelt something entirely unexpected. Don't give up!

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  36. I once did a scarf in yellow and purple, not realizing how badly those colors would clash. Gave it to a friend who asked if he could dye it. He dyed it brown and it looked much better.

    Why is it that we feel that we should be able to achieve perfection the first time we try something? Why can't we just play at these things as we try to learn and be kinder to ourselves? Can you imagine a baby thinking "Well I can't run so why bother trying to walk." It's okay to make mistakes when you are tying to learn a new skill. Please go Abby Fraquemont's site and read the Waylacka post (http://www.abbysyarns.com/wordpress/?p=44) It may make you feel better.

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  37. Let me add that post as a link to make it easier: Here

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  38. If a woven project doesn't look at least a little like "garbage" when you take it off the loom, then something went wrong in the weaving. If it's pretty before you full it, then it's going to be less-pretty after it's bloomed.

    The colors are lovely, at least in the picture, and probably in real life as well. It's wintertime. I get a little cranky in the winter, and sometimes a lot cranky, and maybe you do too.

    Put the fabric in a safe place until the air is warmer and the sap is rising and you can smell hope blooming around you.

    The projects I've seen on your blog are simply breathtaking. And even somebody as gifted and accomplished as you, will have a project that goes pfffft!

    [I think of my own Wilted Leaf Cardigan, knitted last year, which makes me want to screech every time I see it.]

    Dr. RavelledSleave recommends copious quantities of the darkest chocolate you can lay your hands on, to be repeated in half-hour intervals until you're yourself again.

    Much love from Texas...

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  39. First, here's a big hug!

    Second, I'm sorry you are unhappy with your weaving. I think it's stunning and you could sell it for big bucks anywhere along the southern California USA coast.

    Third, I can't add anything more profound than your many other fans have already contributed. For me, crafts is about the process, not the product. I love taking the stitches and rarely finish anything (too ADD) but love the doing of it.

    Let us know when the next stitch comes along.

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  40. I will play Echo to all these beautiful comments.

    Get back on that damn horse and show it who's boss, gal!

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  41. Lene,
    I have been making my way through your archives ever since The Harlot linked to you (on the Rovaniemi mittens post). Your outlook, your skill, your designs have been an inspiration to me.

    I know how discouraging it is when things don't go as planned (I am a high school teacher!), but please know how much I admire and appreciate you.

    I was absolutely fascinated by the picture of the snow. I live in California where the weather gets to 110 F in the summer. I have never seen anything like it in my life!

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  42. marjorie23:24

    I agree with everyone who suggested you should take a break and treat yourself in some way. Artists can't deny the voice inside telling them to create something. So wait a while, and your wool will soon be calling you again. Sometimes we all need to stand back from the things we love for a time. Definitely go and rip that sock out. And have a few choice words for it while you're unravelling it. It always makes me feel better after I've done some cussing.

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  43. Kathy from USA23:41

    I understand - sometimes all of my WIPs seem to be coming out wrong. I currently have three skeins of yarn that I have knit three times and it's still not coming out as something I can live with. So what do I do when I desperately need a success and can't seem to get one? I stop working on all of the WIPs, walk away, and spend time thinking about all of the yarn and other projects that have been waiting their turn. I dream about them and turn them around and around in my head. Eventually one will pop out - I suddenly know exactly what to do - and I can't stop jumping in to see if it will work. If I've been lucky enough to pick something simple - something similar to what I've done before - I can usually get it to come out like the picture in my head - and I'm up off the floor, back into my craft again. One success is all it takes for me to get addicted to fiber all over again. Good luck. Don't worry, fiber addiction seems to lay so deeply in the bones that even tremendous frustration can't tear it out completely.

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  44. " Just how do you wipe out 96 % of your life?"
    Lene, you don't. This is your soul/psyche you are referring to. Close the door, walk away, frog those socks if you so desire, make yourself a cuppa favourite something, find yourself a good book, grab one of your beautiful shawls and snuggle into your favourite chair and let out a huge sigh and prepare to enjoy a good read. Peace to you.

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  45. I should be more clear...'close the door (for a time) walk away (for a time), it will all be there waiting, it won't run away...neither will you.

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  46. I have been silently reading your blog for a year now and I think you need to know how much reading your thoughts,looking at your pictures and your craft work has inspiried me.
    take a break - hug those around you - all will be well sooner than later.

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  47. Laura00:50

    Think back to all of your beautiful creations. Examine a few. You will likely amaze yourself. Remember, trials make you stronger and appreciate the better days when they come.

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  48. Marilyn01:28

    You share your pain as beautifully as you share your art. I check your blog daily and it helps to ease my pain. Do not go silent on us.

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  49. mfitch02:19

    Dear dear Lene:
    You need some Pulla and milk and maybe a glass of wine and a fire.
    The beauty of the snow picture makes me almost cry, so just take some deep breaths, forget all the fibers for a while, and see what happens next. Your blog always makes me happy. You'll be fine.
    Hugs and sunny sunny warm skies from your friend in southern California.

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  50. Anonymous02:59

    Dear Lene ... All of life ..from the first contraction .. is "Three steps forward; two steps back."

    Remember it is February the deadest month because all growth is happening in the dark earth as we will see in March. In the meantime why don't you just do the title of your blog ... Dance with your wool.

    I am a #1 lurker .. but today.....
    hanging on to you .. Elizabeth

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  51. pattie03:07

    I have not read all those other comments but I cannot believe they are anything but consoling and encouraging. Your work is beautifel, your prose is absolutely inspiring.
    And I love the colors of your woven fabric; I cannot see details but I bet you are being too critical of yourself. Take a deep breath, and carry on when you are ready!

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  52. Perhaps it's how we name things?
    It's taken me 13 years of being a designer and a human being to finally realise that yes, one could call something a "failure".
    Or we could call it -more accurately- "process" which is really what it is.
    But I do agree with the concensus about taking a short craft break and think about something else for a while and I can empathise with what you're feeling.

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  53. Jean Shaw03:15

    Found your blog not too long ago & just love it. Makes me want to travel to Finland.

    Anyway--"Faith. Doubt. Effort." That's the company motto of a PR firm in Colorado. As a writer and musician, I just love that. ANY creative endeavor involves all three. Doubt is not just some nasty interloper: It's essential to the enterprise.

    Keep the faith!

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  54. Unravel those stupid socks and knit some tried-and-true cuff-downs.

    I hope I am arriving to this post late enough that you have recovered. You will craft. If you are serious and you choose to do none of these, find your self a nice canvas or cloth and begin your career as a fiber artist instead - nothing to wear, nothing to turn out perfectly. But you will probably find that you must create in some way, so either rip it out and start again, or start anew in another direction.

    There is no going back now.

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  55. Yep, I agree with the many, it sounds like February Funk has set in. I'm not a weaver (yet), but I do hear from friends that woven items can look really grim right off the loom and must be washed to finish them.

    As far as the socks, I have decided that any time that I am tempted by a toe-up, short-row sock pattern that I will adapt it to a standard top-down sock. They just fit me better.

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  56. Esther06:12

    Dear Lene, I read your post yesterday morning and kept thinking about your deception...So much have been write since this moment, what could be added more ...I hope you're feeling better today !
    I've been weaving all the afternoon with a little voice in my head telling me about your bad adventure...and kind of fear went in my stomach ! Maybe the first problem was about the tension of the threads on your loom, non-identical or equal everywhere...or that your material had different density or "elasticity"...Isn't there anybody around you that can help you to learn and understand what went wrong ?
    I think you're a such talented artist, you'll take a little break as you've ever done before, feeling down, and then rebound after finding a new force and spirit inside yourself...Just be patient and confident !
    Esther

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  57. I've been feeling like a failure very often in the past few months. I've toyed with leaving my job, because of some failing friendships there. I've tossed around a few ideas for "taking a break" from my studies, because I just don't think I can succeed with what I have chosen. Even my bread won't rise properly most days. We will leave the other million ways I don't measure up.
    I know how you feel.
    However, I can't bring myself to leave my two excellent managers, and I fight gamely on at University. I've been enjoying your blog, and the lovely photos in it, for a while now, and I just wanted to tell you that frustration, even failure, are ok. Quitting is not.
    Hillary

    p.s. I have a very excellent recipe for chocolate brownies, it is positively sinful...it might help with the recovery process.

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  58. Maybe it will look different when the sun finally comes out? (literally and figuratively?)

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  59. Kuppi teetä, ja huomenna on uusi päivä!
    Kaikilla meillä on epäonnistuneet tekeleemme. Niiden sattuessa toiset lukitsevat oven, mutta jotkut ripustavat tekeleen seinälle. Seinällä se muistuttaa, että oppimista riittää aina, mutta toisaalta myös yrittämällä kehityt ajan mittaan. Ja sen katseleminen naurattaa, kun muistat, että välillä pettymyksiin reagoi niin vahvasti, että moisen tekeleen takia oli vähällä jättää rakastamansa harrastuksen!
    Uusia haasteita kohti, valoisaa kevättä!

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  60. I won't say anything about it because you asked us not to. The snow is absolutely gorgeous, and I just hope you're staying warm and finding beauty in the wonderland in and around your home - like you always can.

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  61. Only one suggestion: try to understand what led to your "failure." Then you will be better at your craft. If you never stretch yourself, you will never fail. Nor will you learn and improve. Embrace mistakes. Learn from them and become even more masterful.

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  62. I think we all learn by what we see as our failures. You are very talented and sometimes we are our own toughest critics. Keep up with all your super priject and I love reading your blog. Stay warm!

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  63. Romi said it all. At the end of the day though we can't all do everything and weaving may not be the thing for you . If I could make those fabulous stockings I'd be happy enough. It's obvious your talent hasn't just left you but sometimes we all lose our muse. At least ( like my mother) you havn't lost the use of your arm .So a bit of a rest ?

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  64. You are in the deep, dark, night of the winter. Like a tree, your sap has run to the ground. Wait for the sun to warm you and soon your juices will run again.

    Yes, close the door. Do something different. Dance, read, walk. The sun will return and so will your craft.

    Best wishes to you!

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  65. Alena01:09

    Lene - I feel your pain. My first weaving projects went great. It was like I could invision a project and presto, it came off the loom just how I wanted. I guess I pissed of the fiber gods when I became too arrogant and my next several projects were absoulte crap. The warp kept breaking, the weft was too tight, etc.... It humbled me. There are times when we feel invicible, and others when we feel like you do now. Please don't let it stop you from creating your beautiful works of art. Take a break, read, defiantly rip out that sock, have a glass (or more) of wine, and recharge your batteries. I also put it all down to February. I hate and loathe February and nothing good has ever come out of it. So, hibernate until March, unlock the door to your craft room, and by that time the fiber gods will be once agin blessing you. Good Luck!!

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  66. I too am delurking - you are such a talented woman, and such a wonderful craftswoman that I can't imagine that you would be able to quit completely. I, too, have walked away from certain crafts in my life but I have always gone back, and I have a feeling you will too! I am just totally impressed that you have jumped into the weaving - something I have wanted to do for a long time, but never managed to get around to.

    Big breaths, a good long sleep and things will hopefully look up soon

    ((((hugs)))

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  67. I thought your weaving piece looks gorgeous but as am amateur I am seeing it differently and that is the problem you have, maybe!
    I love visiting your site as you are very talented and it makes my work seem "rough". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,you may not see it but others have,put it away and let it bloom and it will grow on you!And when you return you will see it differently,if it doesn't, use it to do better next time!
    Most importantly don't give up!!
    Spring is on its way......
    PS I'll have it if you hate it that much.......

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  68. It is not your fault at all. Blame it on the planets and be cheered! Mercury is in retrograde for another 2 weeks and anything that could go wrong will go wrong.

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  69. Thank you for saying for what you have said. When I see someone so wonderfully talented as yourself (and someone I am in awe of) have self doubts and perceived failings then it helps the mere mortals such as myself feel better about our craft when it fails to measure up. I have a loom sitting unwarped as I am a brand new weaver and I guess I have a fear of failure. I would never allow my children to get away with this and yet I allow this in myself. To see you have the same doubts well it is an inspiration to me - "If the great Lene has these set backs then what could I expect but have many failures on my learning curve". You have given me the courage to pull out my book and try to warp the loom. Thank you for your honesty. You are a wonderful talented artist, thank you for sharing your work with us.

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  70. lena, come on girl. I don't know what your were going for in the fabric department. But it doesn't look bad to me.

    And by the way, after all the beautiful things you have produced, how can you say you are shutting off 96 percent of your life. Suck it up and take a break, but don't you dare stop.
    Miriam

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  71. Have you ever read the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"? the boy goes into great detail on how his day was terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. The last line in the book is, "My mom says some days are like that." Back when I was 19, my ski instructor said I shouldn't be afraid of falling, since that meant I was trying something new and I would learn something.
    did any of this help?? Do you need beer, wine or Finnish alcohol?

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  72. Anonymous23:41

    It is always remarkable to me what each person sees in front of them, even though we look at the same thing. You see a mess, something not right, not what was envisioned, not perfect.

    I see carefully selected colors blended beautifully, I see beauty in the irregular lines of the weaving, a gentle roll of the bumps and lumps, and a gentle naiveness only found in unperfected art, which I love above all.

    I am truly attracted to the not so perfect items of the world specifically for that reason. When given a choice of art by a great artist, I will most often choose the early works, the less perfected crafts, the ones that show real experimentation and growth.

    All the comments above are so wise, take them to heart, but try to remember now and again to see what I see, the possibility of incredible beauty in a world of imperfections.

    Kate, Ottawa, Canada

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  73. Sharon J05:36

    I've been reading your blog for quite awhile and not commenting--until now.

    I heartily agree with Kate of Ottawa, Canada. Those pieces, in any art, which exhibit the human-ness of the artist are the most beautiful and meaningful. They feed the soul of the beholder in a way the stilted perfection of machine-made goods can't.

    Love your handmade children, Lene. Love the perfect and the imperfect equally as you would your human children.

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  74. Occasionaly we all make crap. We try hard and it still comes out all wrong. Take a break and do something comletely different for awhile.

    I also agree with the other posts. Don't give up.

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  75. You just need to try something new until you feel like hitting the loom again. It's February. It makes everything feel worse than it really is.
    A psychic once told me I was a weaver in a past life. Maybe I should give it a try.


    Jeannie in NB, Canada

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  76. walk out of the craft room and close the door but just for today. Relax and do nothing to do with crafts. I see beautiful colors in the photograph of the snow. Sometimes we can be our own worst critic, especially if you come from a family of overachievers. Get a hot cup of tea, or hot chocolate, put a dash of squishie cream in the hot chocolate,light a candle to know we are with you, relax, breath and feel the healing hugs and love of your fellow craftsers who have been in your shoes at one point or another. Know that we understand your pain and conflict. Tomorrow, pick up something that is easy mindless and work on it let it help to heal your creative soul.

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  77. I have previously only lurked on your blog, which I found through Steph's blog, after enjoying, and learning much, from your comments. But today I had to comment.

    All art is a process of Works and Studies.

    If it's good, it's a Work.

    If it sucks, it is only a study. Sometimes a study involves a lot of work, but it is still a study. If you are not satisfied with your study, make note of what you learned from it, and move on.

    I learned to knit as a small child. I learned from my granny that if you don't like your results, it's called "practice," and you just rip it out and start over.

    I learned to spin in my early 30s. My first yarn was "ugly as homemade sin," to borrow one of my Mom's favorite expressions.

    It was horrid, itchy, overspun and kinky. It was so overspun it wouldn't even FELT after I knitted it up into a swatch. The hopelessly unfelted swatch became a scrub pad, and I used the remaining yarn for household twine so my effort wouldn't be a complete waste of time. But I found out what was wrong, and tried again, and went on to learn to spin quite well.

    I do very little weaving, and I was crushed at how horrid my first woven item looked, until I fulled it, and it turned out to be not-so-bad. It ended up being a dog-crate pad, but I learned from it.

    What I see laid out on the snow has lovely colors. If you are not happy with it, full it. If still unhappy, felt it mercilessly, and give your dog a fine warm bed.

    Meanwhile, pour yourself a BIG GLASS OF WINE, and knit something utterly mindless and soothing, like a garter-stitch scarf, in a soft, lovely yarn that you like, and wait until the muse strikes again, which I strongly suspect will coincide with the onset of spring.

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  78. Barb in Texas02:40

    Lene, I wish I could just reach over and give you a big hug along with a large cup of your favorite hot beverage!

    And I hope you are feeling much, much better by now even if you do still hate the toe-up socks and the bolt of cloth.

    Although if you aren't feeling better about your projects, I'll agree with others that taking a small break may be a good idea.

    Rip out those pesky toe-up socks and knit them cuff-down when you're good and ready. Think about how the fabric might look in a pieced quilt if you had planned a whole-cloth quilt for it.

    Love, Barb in Texas

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  79. Lene--do something else. Draw us a picture and teach us some Finnish, OK? We miss the little bird in the too-big boots...

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  80. I can so understand your discouragment. When I feel that way I, like Cassie, escape into a good book for a while.

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  81. I share your pain.
    I've just posted about froggine back all the work I did this weekend b/c I was too stupid to verify a chart.

    Your fabric wasn't awful. Really. It just wasnt' what you were expecting it to be. It wasn't what you meant -- but it was NOT a bad thing... just a different thing.

    I'll tell you what... you take my ladybug sweater and figure out something useful to do with it (frogging doesn't work once you've cut the steek you know).... and I'll take your fabric. Each of us can find something wonderful to do with what the other thinks of as total absolute failure.

    In the mean time, I recommend simple socks, or Dulaan hats... over the best "bad tv" you enjoy on DVD... or spinning something simple... or reading a good book.

    It'll be better soon.

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  82. Ok, I know I am late on commenting on this, but...
    Even though it's not quite to your liking for your intended purpose, save it to rethink a new direction for it. It just wants to be something else. (As a quilter, I think you can understand that.) To me, it looks like endless possibilities for MANY thing, such a an assortment of small handbags, handmade book covers, a vest...

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  83. There's so much here already to lift you up that all I can offer is a big hug and a "c'est pas grave, cherie" from Montréal.

    And boy, was it good to read from the weavers commenting here that weaving's supposed to look a bit crappy when it comes off the loom. Could be similar to the theory of lace, which looks like total crap until you get on your hands and knees and block the living hell out of it.

    Hang in there, Lene. Sun's coming. It kind of has to, you know? :-)

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  84. Ei menneisyyttä pyyhitä, sen kanssa opitaan elämään. Elämässä tarvitaan paljon epäonnistuneita kaulaliinoja, anna mennä vain! Uusi loimi, uudet langat, huomenna on uusi päivä!

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  85. I don't know what I could possibly add - so I'll just send you a big virtual hug. I do know the pain having something that consumes your creative passion for weeks turn out to be enormously disappointing - but there really is not much to do but be kind to yourself. You will find your way back because you are an artist, and you couldn't stop even if you wanted to!

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  86. Anonymous16:15

    Weaving can be tricky. I weave things for sale, and I've learned that even if you think something is perfectly hideous, someone else will think it is the most beautiful thing they have ever seen. Finish your item. Stick it in the closet. After you have woven a dozen more things, take it out and look at it again. You will either think it is not so bad after all, or you will think, wow, I have really improved. Look a "failures" as a chance to tell yourself, "well, now I know not to do THAT again" and move on. Many times what you have in your head is not what you see when you get done. Not necessarily bad, just different. Finish it & put it away for now. If you know an experienced weaver you can go to, you can tell her what you wanted to happen and perhaps she can give you suggestions as to why it didn't happen as you hoped. Don't give up! All it takes is practice. Lots of practice. Like knitting. Or skiing.
    Ellen in Virginia

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  87. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the pointer to WeaveCast. I've just started weaving again (still very much a beginner) and that was just what I needed to get inspired and back to work.

    I hope you're feeling better.

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  88. Whenever I come to a place where all of my crafting endeavors are coming up worthless, I start a project doing something that I never thought I would do or working with a color I never thought I would use. Do something totally out of the box and even if you don't finish it, you might find that you start to use a part of your brain that just needed a little kick start to get going again. Then, after a few days, you'll pick up where you left off with your projects and you'll see solutions where there were only problems.

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  89. Louise de Chertsey18:35

    Oh! Lene ! I had lost your blog for a week and I just found it to see that you are not well! Don't give up ! I love to read you and to look at your beautiful work. You are so talented so don't give up, you will be the first to regret it. Crafts are more a way of living than a hobby for you ...
    Louise

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  90. Oh yes you need chocolate. Or some really yummy baked pulla with a nice cup of tea! Maybe a long walk too. Can I come along too?

    The picture of the snow with the intricate snowflakes in it is amazing! I just love snow.

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  91. Hi Lene,

    Take heart. The nature of cloth changes dramatically from when you unroll it from the loom after wet finishing. It is like blocking a lace shawl in that it transforms.

    Take a deep breath, darn in those ends, and wash the fabric.

    That sock? Frog it. I recently did exactly the same thing, started a toe- sock, realized I like the Yarn Harlot's recipe better, and frogged the a whole foot with short-row heel. (Actually I gave it to my three-year-old to do. He had fun with it, but would stop occasionally, give me a concerned look, and say "The whole thing?") Now, instead of a ill-fitting sock haunting me, I have a lovely ball of sock yarn.

    Happy Weaving and Knitting,

    Syne

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  92. If I could fail so spectacularly, I would do so every day! Even sex isn't usually right the first time - you really have to practice to get it just right. You are just so darn great at every craft you choose to address your skills to that you have extremely high expectations of yourself. Give it a short rest and go back in and tackle it again. I can't wait to see the results or the resultant change in your "voice" when it starts to feel right.

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  93. Reading your last post then this one, I can see that you were actually ill! I'm glad you are so much better. From a knitter who could only dream of achieving all the things that you have already. and who only discovered your blog last month. HUGS!

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  94. anne20:00

    aw lene! we all have these days. especially if you were getting sick or just suffering from february.

    too bad we couldn't whisk you off to SPA for a break .. .

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  95. After 94 comments you probably have heard all the encouragement there is to say! I too have loved your blog and your handwork. Of the very few I mention on my own blog yours is one! Although I did just start mine a week ago but have read yours for quite a while even your archives. Please don' stop doing all that fine handwork/ART! You are indeed very talented and it's awesome that you have done so many different things. I am waiting on a spinning wheel right now and recently missed an really good buy on a loom. So those things are in my near future!
    I'll be patietly waiting to see more of your talent! The woven fabric? I just can't tell what's wrong with it!!!! Seems to me to be a gorgeous table runner after you weave in the ends. Hopeing that wasn't the wrong thing to say ;)

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  96. I saw the picture before I read the post, and all I could think was: oh it's so beautiful, all those colors against the snow.

    I know you're not happy with it, but I think it is pretty.

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